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Afghan Army Corps Holds Best Commando Competition

Special to American Forces Press Service

Afghan National Army commandos apply makeshift tourniquets using cravats and a weapons magazine to demonstrate medical self aid during a Best Commando Competition on Jan. 10, 2008, at a combined military outpost in Khowst province, Afghanistan. The friendly competition pitted more than 190 commandos from the Afghan National Army’s 203rd Corps against each other. U.S. Army photo

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Jan. 18, 2008 –More than 190 Afghan National Army commandos from 203rd Corps vied for the right to be crowned the "best of the best" during a competition Jan. 10-11 at a combined military outpost in Khowst province.

The Best Commando Competition featured several events designed to test the commandos’ mental and physical abilities, determination, and endurance. Racing against the clock, participants navigated stations that tested their knowledge and preparedness in first aid, communications, weapons and fitness, over a milelong course, while wearing their full uniform and 40 pounds of body armor.

“This friendly competition helps build morale and develop skills and unit cohesion,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force-82 spokesman.

At the first aid station, the commandos were required to properly affix a tourniquet to their own leg as quickly as possible using two cravats and an empty 30-round M4 magazine.

Next, to test their knowledge of communication equipment, the commandos assembled and programmed a field radio and exchanged a few words over the air with a fellow soldier.

Upon arriving at the third station, the commandos found a field-stripped M4 carbine rifle. Participants had to reassemble and effectively engage two targets on the firing range, hitting each target twice.

Nearing the finish line, the commandos had to muster their remaining strength to accomplish the last two tasks: pushing a 4,500-pound pickup truck about 50 feet before moving on to the pull-up bars to perform as many pull-ups as possible.

The commandos were scored according to their total time to finish the course and accomplish all five tasks. The top three performers received certificates, soccer balls, t-shirts and running shoes to mark their achievement.

“This competition was good for the mind and the body,” said an Afghan National Army commando sergeant who participated in the competition. “Everyone tried to be the best of the best!”

“During missions, our soldiers will be stronger now that they’ve done the competition,” a commando platoon leader said. “They’re becoming more professional and more proficient in key tasks.”

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